By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Senior Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) returned to the court on Saturday for Green Bay (18-4, 8-1 HL), but his frontcourt mate stole the headlines to lead the Phoenix to a bounce back victory over visiting Wright State (13-12, 5-5 HL) at the Resch Center. Junior Greg Mays (Chicago, Ill.) scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half, making 9-of-10 shots from the field overall as the hosts won 62-55 for their 10th-straight home victory.
After Green Bay used a 17-5 run to build an eight-point first-half lead, Wright State scored the final six points before the break to cut the deficit to 29-27.
The Raiders’ run continued coming out of the locker room as the visitors scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 34-29 lead. Mays responded for the Phoenix, who was coming off a 75-60 loss at Valparaiso on Wednesday which snapped the team’s 12-game winning streak.
Mays drained a baseline jumper, threw down a dunk in transition and sank a pair of free throws to start an 8-0 run which reclaimed the lead at 37-34. Wright State tied the game at 37, but Mays responded with a jumper. The Raiders tied the game at 39, and Mays knocked down a three-pointer to start an 11-0 run that put the hosts in front 50-39 with 8:07 to play.
Wright State cut the margin to six, and Mays again scored for the Phoenix. The Raiders cut the Phoenix lead to 55-50, and Mays used a beautiful backcut to score in the lane for a seven-point lead with 3:08 on the clock.
Mays made his first eight shots from the field before he missed and finished with 22 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal in 32 minutes.
WSU refused to go away, with Matt Vest making a three-pointer on the next possession. This time, it was the more predictable Phoenix player who responded. Junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) knocked down a 25-foot three-pointer late in the shot clock to put Green Bay ahead 60-53.
Sykes, the Horizon League’s leading scorer, totaled 18 points, six rebounds and five assists while playing 39 minutes, a season high for a regulation game. Mays and Sykes combined to score 27 of Green Bay's 33 points after halftime.
Brown, who missed the game at Valparaiso due to a shoulder injury and was a game-time decision, played 29 minutes and tallied six points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.
Green Bay held the Raiders to just 37.5 percent shooting from the field and held a 34-31 edge in rebounding. Forcing 16 turnovers, the Phoenix defense totaled 11 steals and seven blocks.
In the midst of a three-game homestand, the Phoenix hosts UIC on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Resch Center.
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